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Michael Landon, the Father I Knew (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

An engaging story of the relationship between a son and his less-than-perfect father.

Author: Troydawg from Tucson, Arizona
26 May 1999

While I was prepared for a nasty tell-all in the form of "Mommy Dearest," as the reviewer in TV Guide had written, I was pleasantly surprised to see a poignant story of the son of a once-loving father having to come to terms with his own and his father's imperfections.

While it was a joy to see the depicted Michael Landon, Jr. eventually triumph over many life-controlling problems, and learn to love his father, the viewer will be compelled to use up a box of Kleenex when he learns that his father, the nationally-beloved Michael Landon, must inevitably die of inoperable cancer. Even though many of us lived through it ourselves as we watched Michel Landon's courageous fight against pancreatic cancer in the news, it was even tougher this time; we had to see the process through the eyes of a loving son who is unable to help his father fight a relentlessly progressing disease.

Most surprising of all is the clarity of Michael Landon, Jr's directorial vision. From the first moment, his style easily drew the viewer in to the point that the audience could actually experience what it was like to be part of the Landon family. That makes watching the family deteriorate later on even more involving and immediate. He will grow to be a true master of the art of film as he matures. I look forward to more of his work.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

The Man Behind the Hollywood Star...

Author: angelalways_91 from United States
29 July 2005

This was a wonderful documentary! Michael Landon Jr. did a great job at directing these characters. Also, he chose actors that really fit the roles. John Schneider fit into the role of Michael Sr. like a duck to water.Fifteen minutes into the movie I forgot that wasn't Michael Sr. standing on the screen once again! The three actors playing Jr,too, did a great job in their roles. The actors were fairly young but acted with such skill as a Hollywood Veteran. This movie is perfect for anyone even if your not a fan of either Landon man. Still for the fans it shows the Hollywood icon being what he really was good at and thats just being a real human being! For the first time we see the Michael Landon few saw while he was behind closed doors. Bravo to Michael Landon Jr. for a superb film.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Above average TV movie

Author: Gary Rosohac from New Cumberland. WV
1 June 1999

So, the film lacks all of the hype of recent Tv movies. But makes up for it in good performances. I was truly impressed with John Schneider's performance. At first, I didn't even know it was him. He melts into the character of Michael Landon with ease. The film revolves around Michael Landon Jr.'s memories of his father and his life growing up as the son of a famous actor. His father is portrayed as the wholesome figure we all knew from his shows, but grows into a cheating husband and throws his families away, again and again. It was refreshing to see a different aspect of Michael Landon's life.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Shown on UK satellite TV as "A Father's Son"

Author: Johnwil
18 June 2002

A homage from a son to a deceased father. It is always regretable to knock a tribute movie but due to a bad script the acting is flat and on occasions well over the top. (No children welcome their father in such a manner unless he has been away for a couple of hundred years.) Incidents like Landon Sr. bending a cheeky guy's finger for swearing in front of his children appear contrived and incidental to the story. As a whole the movie sprawls over too long a time period. I feel Landon Jr. should have focussed more tightly on key incidents and looked deeper into his own emotions, maybe then, the viewer could have more sympathy with his (Landon Jr's), predicament. The editing lacks sharpness and slows a boring movie down to a snail's pace. Even for daytime TV this movie has very little to engage the interest.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not a good film AT ALL. Poor depiction of a wonderful man!!

Author: Roy Smith from United States
14 March 2013

This is the worst movie made about one of the best men of Hollywood. I knew Michael Landon personally and worked with him on the set of Highway To Heaven. This movie was obviously a money making venture. Michael Landon was always a loving father. He was a gracious and very kind man who would give you the shirt off of his back. Sure, he was divorced but he was also married for 20 years to the same woman and gave Michael Jr. more love and affection in those years than most kids will ever get from both parents combined. Michael was truly the most remarkable man I have ever known. His love for his family and his heart was one of PURE GOLD. He had faults, sure...but Jr. needs to take a close look at himself and be careful lest he falls as well. I DO NOT recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of Michael Landon. Bad film all around.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I found the movie to be believable

Author: tameramurdock from United States
17 March 2006

Michael Landon, junior did a good job, as his life with a very famous father seems to have brought him maturity. Meaning that he is able to love his father, whose warts abound as much as any of us. Most times, we find it more than a little hard to love our parents when we discover that they are as human as we are!

I think "his" account (personal viewpoint) of his dad is told as honestly as he was able to tell it. I hope he follows this movie up with a sequel. It would be nice to know how all of the Landon children survived the death of their dad. I imagine that the writing and the directing of this life experience was more than a little helpful to the author.

If there is one thing that stands out in the movie, it is the work ethic his father had. The movie show us how Michael junior learned how to work hard instead of sponging off of his wealthy parents. There are a few things like the example of "hard work" in the movie that make it more than just merely beneficial to watch.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

John Schneider Deserves an Emmy!

Author: Fawn from El Paso, Texas
23 August 1999

I was quite impressed with John Schneider's performance of the late-great star. His portrayal was honest and well acted. This role shows the entire world that John has gone beyond the slick talking Bo Duke and is capable of so much more.

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Heart-rending story... very realistic view on divorce.

Author: jennywraye from United States
29 July 2005

It's a heart-rending story from the perspective of an older child on divorce. Very realistic on divorce. There is no such thing as a 'civil' divorce - especially when children are involved. It tears at their hearts for years. People forget that stars, even their favorites are still fallible people and some of the choices they make devastate loved ones around them. I liked Michael Landon Sr. and the pictures he made. And I still enjoy watching them. I've also recently watched his son's movies and have enjoyed them too. I hope he is a good father in real life and uses the pain his father caused to stay committed to his wife. Too many throw away marriages today... every one looking for the "happily ever after" that is unrealistic and won't work at making a good marriage and a stable family home for the next generation. It is work - but the dividends are well worth it. Hollywood has glorified adultery for too long, ignoring the pain it causes or portraying the hurt party as deserving of the disloyalty... and portraying the third party as an innocent. There is nothing innocent or pure or noble about having a sexual relationship with someone else's spouse. It's selfish. But enough of the soap box. It was sad, but good. Dr. J. Wraye

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5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Cheesy TV star biography

Author: Mikew3001 ( from Hamburg, Germany
2 April 2003

This film is about the life and times of Michael Landon, fifties teenage b-movie actor and star of successful and long-running TV series like "Bonanza", "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven". It focuses on the private life of Landon, reaching from his early "Bonanza" days in the sixties to his sad cancer death in 1991.

Directed by his son, Michael Landon jr., it is rather an autobiography about a tragic father and son relationship. As Landon left his family very early for another younger woman, it's the only thing that this movie is really about. What could have become an interesting portrait of a TV actor is just a boring and cheesy kitchen sink drama and a bit of an autotherapy of the director. You won't learn much about Landon or his works, but more about his hair styles during all those decades. And that's not enough for an interesting movie.

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5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

Author: littlemissmilitary from Australia
27 June 2006

No doubt it can be hard being the child of a famous film or TV star, but there's one big advantage these offspring have that the rest of us don't - they can use their Hollywood clout to make a heavily-biased, thinly-disguised hate movie about the parent who slighted them, be it in real life, in a changed will, or in the child's own tortured imagination. And if, by dint of being dead for eight years before the movie's release, the subject parent has no right of reply to what amounts to a good dose of celluloid libel, how much sweeter the slighted one's revenge must feel.

There are two things about this movie I am grateful for: that I didn't pay money to see it and that Landon Jr qualified the title with the words "The Father I Knew". If he hadn't, I would never had recognized the main character as Michael Landon Sr.

John Schneider's portrayal of the charismatic and charming Michael Sr is so shallow it results in a comic caricature that is painful to watch and tosses credibility straight out the window. Cheryl Ladd as Lynn Noe Landon limps along in a soap-opera role tiringly over-weighted in the opposite direction of wronged innocence that finally wanders into weary saintedness. Boring! Some more thoughtful moments of human complexity are revealed in the problems developed by Landon Jr and his sister Leslie. Her behavioural responses to the family dynamics ring true until we remember that research has shown the causal factor to be a dysfunctional relationship with the mother rather than the father.

If Landon Jr's movie was an attempt to garner sympathy for his difficult life, it failed. If its aim was to inform the public of the objective truth about Michael Landon Sr, Wikipedia does it better. If it had audience enjoyment or entertainment as a goal, it missed that mark as well, although the younger kids were cute, the sets were nice, and the scenery eye-pleasing. If making this movie served to work out Landon Jr's psychological devastations, let's hope it succeeded because a high price was paid in the character assassination of the highly-regarded Michael Landon Sr.

It is interesting that the main thrust of Landon Jr's argument is his father's hypocrisy. Landon Sr played well-loved television characters of impeccable integrity, most notably in this film the beloved and near-perfect Pa Ingalls in the Little House on the Paririe series. Meanwhile in real life he apparently destroyed his first two marriages through an affair. He allegedly barely functioned as an emotionally-resistant parent who either refused to hear or chose to ignore his older children's pleas for love and recognition.

These days his son, Landon Jr, enjoys a successful career as a film-maker. His movies win Camie awards. Family groups applaud his life choices. He actively promotes Christian values of love, respect, loyalty and forgiveness. It seems a tad hypocritical on the Junior Landon's part that he could not apply these very principles to his one and only film memorial of his father. If nothing else, it would have made for a much better movie.

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